Adding Value to Your Childcare Business Through Photography & Video
According to child Health USA 2008-2009, “Of mothers with children under 6 years of age … 59.6 percent were employed” in 2007 with the number rising each year. With the increase of working mothers, there has also been an increase in the number of businesses providing childcare services. If you look through your local ads on line or in the paper, you will find an abundance of childcare services with openings competing for their business. As a daycare owner which rarely has openings, I rely heavily on providing additional unexpected services to my clients to add value to their experience and validate the expense of child care.
Aside from the expected care of providing safety, nutritious meals, and fundamentals of development for their child, I provide additional services that are not standard with any other provider. One of those services is photography and video. Many parents who are away from their children all day find it difficult not knowing what their children are doing. Photographs can be comforting since they provide visual confirmation on how their child is spending his or her day. In this day and age, most people know how to operate a digital camera and can easily download their photos to any website photo dump like photobucket.com or Walgreens.com. This allows the parents to share these photos with friends and family or print them for their personal photo albums. There is virtually no cost to the business other than time and energy. The photos don’t have to be professional, just a random picture of the child having fun and laughing is usually enough to reassure the parents the child is in good care. Nothing seems to make a parent happier than seeing their child happy in a photograph.
Throughout the year, you can compile the videos and photographs that were taken to make a professional looking yearbook and video yearbook that the parents can order at cost or for a profit. Walgreens.com offers an exceptional tool on their website for composing and ordering photo books for less than $10 each. The website guides you through the entire process. It will even auto fill the book if you don’t want to do it manually. If you are technically challenged, and can’t see yourself making a video, you can even use this website to send them as an automated slideshow. I go a step further and compose motion video with a dvd maker program on my computer. Then obtain permission from the parents to post my video clips on youtube.com. I also provide them with directions on how to share the videos with their family in case they are not familiar with the site.
This added service is great for parents who want to update grandparents, aunts or uncles who live out of town. It also makes a great advertising tool for your business. When I have an opportunity to obtain new students, I post an ad on craigslist.org and link the video from youtube to promote the availability. It makes a creative ad that stands out among the dozens of ads posted every day. Just be sure to get a photo/video release in writing from the parents before photographing or videoing their child. In the release you should indicate name of child, name of parent, and intended purpose for the finished product. Then always get a signature and keep on file in a safe place in case you ever need it. You may also want to get a second opinion from a relative, close friend, or business partner before publicizing your video to ensure it is appropriate and conveys the message you want to send out to new clients.
Many parents today are asking for web-cam services which can be legally risky for most daycare centers and concerning for parents who become obsessed with the fundamental daily care of their child. I find the photo and video services are much more controllable as far as content, but provide the comfort a parent needs to feel involved in the daily lives of their children. It also adds significant value to your childcare services which will justify the weekly dues most parents complain about.